Summer 1957. Archaeological dig at the Goddard site in Brooklin, Maine. A small silver coin was uncovered at an ancient Native American settlement. Nearly forgotten for twenty-two years when finally the coin was identified by experts as an ancient Norwegian coin. “Viking” they declared, “1065 – 1080AD”. Because this was the only authenticated Norse artifact found at this site or in the United States, the coin has been shrouded in controversy ever since.
There are three leading theories as to its origin. The Vikings visited the village leaving the coin behind in trade. The coin was traded south from one of several Viking settlements in Newfoundland, or Labrador, or that someone planted the coin at the site.
What is certain from the Icelandic sagas and the archaeological evidence is that Leif Ericsson discovered North America, and established a temporary settlement at L’Anse Aux Meadows, Newfoundland Canada around 1000AD. From this settlement, the Gulf of Maine was just a few weeks sail to the South. Is it possible the Vikings made it to Maine 500 years before Columbus discovered America? The question of how the coin came to be in Brooklin Maine is still an unsolved mystery. For now we’ll let you decide.
Our Unsolved Mystery Viking Maine Penny Necklace shows both a Viking ship on the front and a miniature version of one side of the Maine Penny on the back.
The original Maine Penny is the property of the State of Maine and is held in a vault at the Maine State Museum. The Maine Penny is sometimes on display. Call ahead for its exhibition schedule. To learn more about this unsolved mystery and the controversy surrounding its discovery, be sure to google “Maine Penny”.
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